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Anime and Manga
- In book two of RE:PLAY, a fictional interview with some of the lead characters reveals that lead singer Cree has killed four hamsters, a guinea pig and one unfortunate canary. Oh, and countless goldfish. Poor bastards...
- An episode in Doraemon begins with some goldfish in Nobi's resident die again, causing Doraemon to solve a problem by using the special paint that can create multiple types of pet from rocks.
- Angel Tales has a certain foundation on this trope, as the main character's previously dead pets are resurrected as humanoid girls to serve him as guardian angels. While he was not directly responsible for their deaths (in fact they return because he cared deeply for each one of them), twelve pets dead from non-natural causes is quite a feat.
- Kagura in Gintama. Her enthusiasm combined with her incredible strength has killed her pets in the past. Fortunately Sadaharu is huge enough and strong enough to survive.
- In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Harry explains to McGonagall why he'd rather pay for his mail than buy an owl, or any familiar for that matter: "I had a pet rock once. It died." It's later made clear that this wasn't a joke, but something that actually happened, and at the very end of the story it's revealed that Dumbledore killed it, and he doesn't even know why other than "Because Destiny Says So".
Films — Animated
- Darla Sherman from Finding Nemo.
Films — Live-Action
- The Death of Rats in Discworld reaps the souls of a lot of mice, gerbils and hamsters that run into this. Susan has to replace the class pet at her school regularly.
- It's noted in Hogfather that the Death of Rats isn't very busy on Hogswatch Eve, but business picks up about three days later, when all the children who got mice, gerbils, or hamsters for Hogswatch start forgetting to feed their pets.
- In Wyrd Sisters it's revealed that Magrat has gone through quite a few familiars, invoking this trope.
- Lennie from Of Mice and Men, Played for Drama. The guy doesn't know his strength, many cute pets and one important woman are accidentally crushed by him.
- Tonk Fah from Warbreaker. He has a monkey, then a parrot, and they both die. In this case, it's used to make him a little creepy. He's a sociopath who tortures his pets to death for fun.
- Dexter has an abysmal track record with pets, largely because Animals Hate Him.
- They're not exactly pets, but GOB from Arrested Development has terribly bad luck with animals used in his magic acts.
- Drusilla on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Also Buffy "I killed my Giga Pet" Summers, herself.(This was part of an arc that drew parallels between these two protagonists left and right, so probably an afterthought rather than normal characterization.)
- George and Reggie from Dead Like Me are noted to be like this.
- Spencer from iCarly is known for "his many dead goldfish".
- Dwight Schrute from the American version of The Office (US).
- Cady in Reaper.
- There was a Saturday Night Live bit called "The Mellow Show" where the host would always forget to feed his pets...
- In Gilmore Girls, all of Lorelai Gilmore's pets - a least until she adopts the dog Paul Anka in season 6, have died. It's a running gag, to the point where the town's people attempt to stop the dog shelter worker from giving the dog to Lorelai.
- In Dungeons & Dragons, Druids and Rangers have picked up this reputation among the player base. Since the only penalty for losing an animal companion is the ritual required to call a new one (unlike most other pets or auxiliary characters), using them as semi-disposable "meat shields" is a viable strategy.
- This tendency wound up being discouraged in Pathfinder with the Cavalier, who must go through a week-long grieving ceremony if his horse is killed.
- Stephen Spookyraven's pets tending to be strangely short lived is the explanation for why the Haunted Conservatory at Spookyraven Manor in Kingdom of Loathing has unlimited numbers of small undead animals for you to kill. After the May 2014 revamp of Spookyraven Manor, we find out why Stephen's pets kept dying: Stephen was a budding Mad Scientist who used to practice surgery on stray animals, and as he grew older he started experimenting on his "pets" in an effort to keep them alive.
- Commander Shepard can become this in Mass Effect 2. Shepard's cabin aboard the Normandy features a fishtank, and Shepard can purchase fish from various vendors. The fish need to be fed between missions or they'll die, and have to be repurchased. Later on, Shepard's yeoman offers to take care of the fish, and from that point on it's no longer a worry. Mass Effect 3 introduces a rather expensive automated fish-feeder that provides the same function. Thankfully, your hamster is indestructible.
Miranda: Executing marine life seems to be some sort of hobby with you.
- In the Citadel DLC for the third game, Miranda can lampshade this habit after an altercation with mooks causes a fancy sushi restaurant's aquarium floor to collapse.
- Invoked in Harvest Moon, especially Save the Homeland and Wonderful Life where the games strictly keep track of your dead pets. The more animals die in your farm, the more people will hate you.
- Ariel of Drowtales has been Flanderized into this by the fandom even though she's only had three pets and one, the feral Melodia, is still alive, but either way she's still 1-2 on their survival rate. Fuzzy, the cat, was killed by her abusive older sister, while the other was a biogolem who she absorbed in order to escape someone trying to rape her (It Makes Sense in Context).
- Prince Ricardo of No Rest for the Wicked is on his ninth horse named Artax.
- Elmira in Tiny Toon Adventures, though it's more chronic abuse than negligent killing... she is such a terror that when her dead pets returned to life to get revenge on a Halloween episode short, her attempts to 'take care' and 'play' with them (which tears them apart instead—they were very rotten corpses) makes them race back to their graves while they're still (relatively) intact.
- Lisa went through about four cats in one episode of The Simpsons. The last one survives though.
- Timmy from The Fairly OddParents! was this, although he was told his pets just ran away. Really, all his animals died and were buried in the garden by his dad while Timmy was away at summer-camp... camp... camp...
- In the Screwy Squirrel cartoon "Lonesome Lenny", a big dopey dog named Lenny keeps accidentally killing his companions. Whenever one of them would die, he would say, "You know, I had a little friend once, but he don't move no more". This is an unsubtle Shout-Out to Of Mice And Men, as mentioned above.
- This by the way was the last Screwy Squirrel cartoon.
- A variant in South Park, where it turns out that all the Paris Hilton's pets had committed suicide rather then putting up with their obnoxious owner.
- This is tragic Truth in Television for children who don't understand how to care for their animals and whose parents keep getting them pets because they are either:
- Just as clueless
- Unwilling to help or take over as needed
- Are used to placating a whiny kid instead of saying "no"
- Just don't care if the animals die
- A combination or all of the above
- This also happens with some adults who don't think carefully enough about all the care and attention that a pet entails, but decide to keep trying anyway. Because of this, vets commonly put PSAs out at their offices to prevent this from happening.